Body language - What your body language is really telling the interviewer

body language
Only 7% of communication involves the words that you say - your body language accounts for over 50% of communication.

And so, whilst you will have prepared yourself for what to say during an interview and picked out all of your best examples, it's important to think about what your body language says about you too.
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The interviewer(s) can tell a lot about the type of person that you are simply by reading the little hints in your body language. They can gauge whether you are insecure or self-conscious, whether you are arrogant or overconfident, whether you are outgoing or introverted.

Body language can give you away if you are not being truthful or are trying to hide something. It can also demonstrate how enthusiastic you are and whether you are an easy-going and friendly person, or uptight and prone to stress.

It's vitally important that you give out the right signals. As soon as you meet your interviewer, make eye contact and shake their hand with a nice, firm handshake. This immediately tells them that you are professional and confident. Don't be too harsh or overly firm with your handshake as this may imply that you are too overpowering.

During the interview itself, again, keep eye contact with your interviewer(s) without staring and smile warmly. If there is a panel of interviewers make sure that you include everyone in your glances when talking, without focusing on one person in particular.

Avoid looking sideways or down at the floor, as this could imply that you are distracted or disinterested in what is being said. Mind your posture - don't slouch in your chair, as this sort of body language implies that you are lazy, tired or disinterested, and these are not the qualities that an employer is looking for in a member of their team!

Keep your feet firmly on the floor and avoid crossing your legs and arms. This is a sign that you may not be listening carefully or are too casual about the interview process. In practical terms, crossing legs can often lead to discomfort which may cause you to keep swapping your legs over - this can often prove a distraction for both you and your interviewer.

When considering what to do with your hands, the important thing is to not to wave them around too much. Keep your hands lower than your elbows, and either rest them on the arms of the chair or on your thighs or gently clasp your fingers together on your lap.

Another body language tip is to use your body to 'mirror' that of your interviewer's. Holding similar poses as the person you are talking to appeals to them subconsciously, and will make them feel more comfortable about being around you. So, if they are sitting up straight, make sure that you are sitting up straight too and try to reflect other aspects of their demeanour such as hand movements and smiles.

Avoid any actions that may imply that you are very nervous, such as biting your lip, coughing, wringing your hands, playing with your hair, touching your nose and face or biting your fingernails. Also don't fiddle with anything such as your watch / bracelet or the chair you are sitting on. When in agreement with your interviewer, try not to nod your head too rapidly or eagerly, as this could in fact imply that you are impatient or even pushy.

When in agreement with your interviewer, try not to nod your head too rapidly or eagerly, as this could in fact imply that you are impatient or even pushy.

The lead up to an interview can often make people feel hot and sweaty due to nerves, and can also result in a dry throat. If this happens it's important to remember that a bit of nerves are necessary in order for your body to produce enough adrenaline to keep you alert and attentive - so this isn't a bad thing. Have a drink of water and take some deep breaths before entering the interview room - if necessary dab your face with a tissue so that you are not worried about looking flustered in front of the interviewers.

Other forms of body language are contained in the way that you look, in addition to the way that you hold yourself and the tone of your voice. Pay close attention to your hair, nails, clothing and posture. If any of these things do not 'match' with what you are saying about yourself, your interviewer may not believe that you are being truthful about what you are really like and this may limit your chances of success.

Make sure that you do a practice interview with a friend and ask them to tell you what your body language says to them.

They can tell you what impression you are giving off and whether this conflicts with what you are saying. Take this into consideration when going to your real interview, as it is difficult to look at yourself objectively.

Remember, your body language is there to be used for your benefit and if used correctly can help to reinforce both your CV and what you are saying during an interview.
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